Major League Baseball will experience its second abbreviated season in three years starting next month, after an extended deadline for players and owners to approve a new labor contract passed this week.
The first cancellations were announced by league commissioner Rob Manfred during a press conference late on Tuesday, citing a breakdown in negotiations between team owners and the union representing the players, the Major League Baseball Players Association. Thus far, the opening two series of the season have been scrubbed from the schedule, with the league and ownership threatening more cancellations if the MLBPA refuses further proposals.
The MLBPA has cited both a 43-day gap when ownership refused to schedule bargaining meetings and the league-imposed agreement deadline as the cause of the contracted season, as opposed to a refusal to bargain in good faith.
After the expiration of the league-imposed deadline and the cancellation announcement, the MLBPA gave a press conference in which they said they will not stop advocating for improved conditions:
Disagreements between the two sides have centered around raises to minimum salaries, postseason structure, and adjustments to the competitive balance tax, commonly referred to as a “luxury tax”, that currently impacts lower-revenue teams more harshly.
Though owners called Tuesday’s offer the “best and final” that they were going to propose, leaders from both sides met informally yesterday to discuss how to proceed with negotiations. No further official meetings between the league and MLBPA have been scheduled but are anticipated to resume shortly.
Reporting Courtest of Sean Hagerup for Labor Radio
Image Courtesy of soq of Flickr